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Scottish inmates harbouring thousands of mobile handsets

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 14:39:42

Confiscations of mobile phones from within the confines of Scottish prisons has risen drastically in the last year, with over 1600 being recovered from inmates by prison staff since 2008.

Experts believe that the mobiles are allowing the hardened criminals who have been locked up for long sentences to speak directly to their accomplices on the outside and retain control over organised crime operations even as they are behind bars.

The seizure of mobile phones was discovered after a Freedom of Information Act request was granted and they seem to have become one of the most sought-after bits of contraband along with drugs and tobacco.

Interestingly, the smuggling of mobile phones into Scottish prisons greatly outweighs that of pornographic material, as just three such magazines have been recovered from all of the correctional institutions combined over the past two years.

Labour's Richard Baker MP said that the government in Scotland needs to reduce the number of items which are making their way through security checks and into prisons. He pointed out that while drugs and weapons were prevalent, portable communications devices like mobiles were among the more common and potentially problematic items to be recovered in recent years.

Technology which acts to block mobile signals in and around prisons has been developed to counteract the capabilities of handsets in such environments, although this is still used in only a limited number of institutions. Until such time as mobiles become impossible to smuggle into prisons it seems that their availability will continue to rise.

It is not know whether or not the Scottish authorities destroyed the confiscated mobiles, but with 1694 in total, it might make more sense for them to recycle the devices and make a little cash back for the prisons services.




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